From Oracle Bones to E-Publications - Three Milennia of Publishing of China

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One of the world's four ancient civilizations, Chinese civilization has
continued for thousands of years without interruption. It is a culture
characterized by long history, rich content, unity in diversity, deep
and far-reaching influence, and continuous development. To review 3,000
years of Chinese publishing is to see the reasons behind the changes
that took place in each period of publishing activity. Therefore, the
publication and presentation to the world of this illustrated summation
of China's 3,000 years of publishing is of great significance.The body
of the book is divided into four periods, a chronological approach that
displays China's publishing history and culture against the whole
panorama of Chinese cultural development. Papermaking technology,
printing technology and the application of modern digital technology are
the transition markers, thus: 1. The invention of characters and the
appearance of books-the era of writings on bamboo and silk; 2. The
invention of papermaking technology——the era of books handwritten on
paper; 3. The invention and development of printing technology-the
printing era; 4. The development of digital technology, a profound
influence on Chinese publishing-our current digital publishing era.
Modern Chinese publishing is highly diverse in character, a pattern that
encompasses print publishing, on-line publishing and mobile-phone
publishing. The Appendices cover book layout and binding in ancient
China, large-scale compilations and complete works, and books most
representative of Chinese culture.The aims of this retrospective of
3,000 years of publishing in China are to explore the essence of Chinese
publishing history, to clarify the course and changes in its
development, to carry forward this precious historical and cultural
legacy, to add to the accomplishments of the publishing industry and to
present more outstanding publications to the world.
Table of Contents
Preface: The Origin and Evolution of Publishing in China
Chapter ⅠThe Era of Oracle Bones, Bamboo and Silk 21 st-2 nd Century BC
Oracle Bone Script
Bronze Inscriptions
Books of Bamboo and Wooden Strips
Ⅰ. History of Bamboo and Wooden Strips
Ⅱ. The Content of Bamboo and Wooden Strips
Ⅲ. Making Books of Bamboo and Wooden Strips
Ⅳ. The Legacy of Bamboo and Wooden Strips
Stone Inscriptions
Writings on Silk

Chapter Ⅱ
The Era of Books Handwritten on Paper I st Century BC-7th Century AD
The Invention and Spread of Papermaking
Ⅰ.The Invention of Plant-fiber Paper
Ⅱ. Improvement of Papermaking Technology
Ⅲ. The Spread of Papermaking to Foreign Countries
The Book Scroll System
The Circulation of Handwritten Books
Ⅰ. Private Bookstores
Ⅱ. The Earliest Book Market: Pagoda Tree Market
Ⅲ. Book Copyists
Ⅳ. The Translation and Dissemination of Buddhist Scriptures

Chapter Ⅲ
The Hand Printing Era I: Printing Technology 7th-19th Century
Woodblock Printing
Movable Type Printing
Ⅰ. Bi Sheng and Movable Clay Type
Ⅱ. Wang Zhen and Movable Wooden Type
Ⅲ. Gem Editions of the Wuying Hall
Ⅳ. Movable Metal Type
Color Printing
Ⅰ. The Min and Ling Families
Ⅱ. Douban and Gonghua Woodblock Printing Techniques
The Introduction of Printing to Foreign Countries
Ⅰ. Korea
Ⅱ. Japan
Ⅲ. Vietnam and Southeast Asia
Ⅳ. Iran
Ⅴ. Europe

Chapter Ⅳ
The Hand Printing Era I1: Publishing Systems 7th-I 9th Century
Guanke: Government Publishing
Ⅰ. Feng Dao and the First Printed Confucian Classics
Ⅱ. Printing of Buddhist Scriptures under Qian Chu, King of Wuyue
Ⅲ. Imperial Academy Block Prints
Ⅳ. Gongshiku Block Prints
Ⅴ. Jingchang and Shupa Editions
Ⅵ. Fan Block Printing
Ⅶ. Wuying Hall Block Printing
Ⅷ. Official Publishing Houses and Translation Houses
Bookshop: Non-governmental Publishing
Ⅰ. The Yu Family of Jian'an and Chen Family of Lin'an
Ⅱ. Flourishing of Bookshop Publishing in the Ming Dynasty
Ⅲ. Prosperity and Change in Qing Dynasty Bookshops
Individual Printing: Private Publishing
Ⅰ. Famous Private Block Printing in the Early Period: Wu Zhaoyi
Ⅱ. Private Printing in the Song and Yuan Dynasties
Ⅲ. Mao Jin and the Jigu Pavilion
Ⅳ. Qing Dynasty Write-and-cut and Precision Carving
Academic Printing: Academic Publishing
Temple Printing: Religious Publishing
Book Circulation in the Print Age
Ⅰ. Flourishing Domestic Book Trade
Ⅱ. Two-way Impact via the "Book Road"

Chapter Ⅴ
The Mechanized Printing Era
19th Century-1940s
Introduction and Application of Mechanization
New Types of Publishing Enterprises
Ⅰ. Zhang Yuanji and the Commercial Press
Ⅱ. Lufei Kui and the Zhonghua Book Company
New Publications
Ⅰ. Books on Modern Sciences
Ⅱ. Newspapers and Magazines
Ⅲ. Textbooks, New Reference Books and Picture-story Books
Wider and Deeper Overseas Contact
Ⅰ. Translated Books in Quantity
Ⅱ. Wider Foreign Participation in Chinese Publishing
Ⅲ. The Appearance of International Joint Ventures
Ⅳ. Exportation of Chinese Classics Impact of New Publishing on Chinese Society and Culture
Ⅰ. Modern Publishing Concepts Taking Root
Ⅱ. Copyright System Finally Established
Ⅲ. Stimulating Social Change and Development

Chapter Ⅵ
Application of Modern Digital Technology and New Forms of Publishing 1950s - Early 21 st Century
Qualitative Changes through Technology
Ⅰ. CCLPTTechnology, a Milestone Invention
Ⅱ. Print on Demand-a Marriage of Individuality and Market
The Age of Digital Publishing
Ⅰ. Microfilm, Magnetic and Optical Discs Open the Door
Ⅱ. Digital Media: "Friend and Foe"
Competition and Merging of Various Formats
Ⅰ. On-line Publishing
Ⅱ. Mobile-phone Publishing
Impact of New Technologies
Ⅰ. Digitization of Editing
Ⅱ. The Digital Revolution in Distribution

Chapter Ⅶ
The Advent of Mega-Publishing 1980s - Early 21 st Century
Expansion of Editing System
Ⅰ. Book Market and Publishers Getting Bigger
Ⅱ. Mature and Stable Newspaper Market Facing Format Change
Ⅲ. Steady Growth in the Periodical Market
Ⅳ. Decline in Audio-Video and E-Publishing
Ⅴ. Wildfire Growth of Publishing Groups
Ⅵ. New Media Heading toward Integration
Reform and Expansion of Distribution
Ⅰ. Reform of the Main Distribution Channels
Ⅱ. Rapid Growth of Non-Governmental Distribution
Ⅲ. Advantages of On-Line Distribution
Up-to-the-minute Printing Systems
Ⅰ. Development and Transition in Paper Manufacture
Ⅱ. Digitization of Printing
Ⅲ. Innovations in Book Finishing
Fine Teaching and Research Infrastructure
Ⅰ. From without... to with... to Outstanding
Ⅱ. Publishing Research Linking Up with the World
Ⅲ. Publishing Research Bases

Chapter Ⅷ
An International Approach 1990s - Early 21st Century
Branching Out and Bringing in
Ⅰ. Copyright Trade
Ⅱ. International Cooperation
Increasing International Outreach
Ⅰ. Chinese Books at International Fairs
Ⅱ. Challenges on the Long Road Ahead

Appendix 1
Book Layout and Binding in Ancient China
Appendix 2
Large-scale Compilations and Complete Works
Appendix 3
Books Most Representative of Chinese Culture
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Sample pages of From Oracle Bones to E-Publications - Three Milennia of Publishing of China (ISBN:9787119060217)
Sample pages of From Oracle Bones to E-Publications - Three Milennia of Publishing of China (ISBN:9787119060217)
While bamboo strips and silk served as the main writing materials, it was also quite common to engrave on stone for recording events. Stone was both widely available and durable. It was easier to inscribe onto stone than onto metal vessels. Moreover, stone inscriptions could be displayed to the public in the open.
Records about stone inscriptions can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). Emperor Qinshihuang (259-210 BC) gave fresh impetus to this tradition as he traveled extensively across the country during his 12-year reign. Wherever he went, he would create inscriptions on rocks to celebrate his achievement in unifying China. Famous stone inscriptions left by the emperor can be found at Mount Taishan, Langyatai and Kuaiji. Stone inscriptions gained popularity in the Han Dynasty as stone carving techniques advanced.
The earliest extant stone inscriptions date back tc the Spring and Autumn Period. They were found on the 10 drum-shaped stones unearthed in Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907). All the stone drums are covered with poems on hunting in a script style somewhere between the bronze script and the seal script. Originally, there were more than 700 characters but they are now barely legible due to damage by natural and human agency. The stone drums, the earliest above-ground cultural relics ever discovered in China, are now kept in the Inscriptions Hall of the Palace Museum in Beijinq.
In 1965, many written oaths of allegiance were discovered in the ruins of the capital of the Jin State in Houma, Shanxi Province. The oaths were written in red or black ink on jade and stone. More than 5,000 whole and fragmentary pieces were discovered. One third of them were jade, and the rest were stone, the upper section pointed and the bottom rectangular. Of these, the biggest is 32 centimeters long, 3.8 centimeters wide, regular in shape and dark grey in color. Archeological studies show that they were documents signed at allegiance pledging ceremonies during the Spring and Autumn Period. Research has found that the oaths were taken in 495 BC between Zhao Yang, or Zhao Jianzi, one of the six most powerful officials in the Jin State, and his followers. The oaths vary in length, from around 10 characters to more than 200. The characters were written in different scripts with complex structures. Irregular characters totaled as many as 1,274. The diverse styles of oath texts indicate that they were authored by different persons. They were written from top to bottom and from right to left with punctuation.

Publishing has many definitions but, from a macro-perspective, it is a human activity of accumulating knowledge and spreading civilization. The many kinds of publications produced by man are not only instruments whereby civilization is spread but also the direct product of knowledge accumulation. By its very nature, publishing is closely associated with the development of culture and civilization. In China, a country blessed with age-old civilization and profound culture, publishing has a time-honored history. Over the past millennia, the Chinese have created a huge variety of publications and nurtured a brilliant book culture.
If we look at China's publishing activity in the context of its thousands of years of civilization, we can draw the following conclusion: Publishing has developed in China in an uninterrupted manner since 3,000 years ago when the Chinese script was invented and documents first appeared.
China's 3,000 years of continuous publishing have left an invaluable cultural legacy both for China itself and the world at large. From a historical perspective, China, as one of the cradles of world civilization, was among the first countries to engage in publishing. In the history of world civilization China's classic works perhaps deserve a book of their own, given their large numbers, long history, wide circulation and continued and detailed documentation. Creative Chinese people have shown great wisdom in their long-term publishing activity. Papermaking and printing, two of the four most important inventions in ancient China, not only helped publishing in China to flourish but also helped accelerate the transition from barbarism to civilization in the Eastern Hemisphere. Moreover, a large number of eminent editors, publishers, distributors and sales people have emerged since publishing started in China 3,000 years ago.
China has nurtured a brilliant book culture in its 3,000-year publishing history. Publishing has flourished in China over the past thousands of years because of its enduring spirit, and a wellspring of constant renewal. To understand this spirit, we need to look at how publishing started. We must probe into its development and changes in order to gain insights into its history.
From Oracle Bones to E-Publications - Three Milennia of Publishing of China